Uber operating outside of the current law: Mayor John Tory

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Mayor John Tory says Uber is operating outside of the law after meeting with representatives from taxi and ride-sharing industry. Now he says new bylaws should be created to regulate Uber drivers as well as taxi drivers. Marianne Dimain reports.

TORONTO – Mayor John Tory says ride-hailing service Uber is operating outside of the city’s current bylaws and is promising swift action to bring ground transportation for hire under one roof by the fall.

“Council has the authority to rewrite the bylaw,” said Tory following a meeting Monday morning with representatives from Uber and the taxi industry.

“The law will have to be changed and in such a way that there will be fair competition.”

Tory agreed to meet with the taxi industry just three days after an Ontario judge dismissed an application to halt the ride-hailing service.

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The city sought a permanent injunction on the company’s operations, arguing Uber is a taxi company and must abide by the city’s regulations.

But Superior Court Judge Sean Dunphy said there is “no evidence” the company is operating as a taxi broker or that it breached city bylaws.

Mayor Tory reiterated Monday new technologies such as Uber are here to stay and the city must figure out a way to work with them.

WATCH: The City of Toronto’s attempt to get an injunction to stop ‘Uber’ from operating has been dismissed. Lama Nicolas on how the court decision means the dispute is heating up.

Still, Tory said the bylaws don’t adequately capture operations of companies like Uber and is convinced placing taxis and ride-sharing operations under one centralized regulation is the solution.

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“I would hope these discussions will begin immediately, to have something before city council this fall,” said Tory. “I know the urgency confronted by drivers.”

Taxi drivers have been vocal in their opposition to Uber, and roughly 500 recently staged a noisy protest outside Toronto City Hall.

The taxi alliance also threatened to disrupt the Pan Am Games which officially begins on Friday, but representatives from the industry said it will back down in light of Monday’s “positive” meeting with Mayor Tory.

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However, the taxi industry is still demanding officers to enforce the city’s current bylaw and ticket Uber drivers currently in operation, a sentiment equally echoed by the mayor.

“I would expect we will see some law enforcement activity pending the development of a new modernized law which has to be priority number one for us,” said Tory.

Meanwhile, Ian Black, General Manager of Uber Toronto, said he has no plans to cease operations in Toronto, but is eager to work with the city to find a new set of regulations that take into account technology alongside the taxi industry.

The company has always argued it is a communications service that connects passengers and drivers, and thus isn’t subject to the city’s bylaws.

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Taxi and Uber reps wait to see Mayor John Tory on July 6, 2015.
Taxi and Uber reps wait to see Mayor John Tory on July 6, 2015. Gord Edick/Global News

With a file from The Canadian Press

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